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When The ‘S’ Hits The Fan For Real…

April 29, 2016, by Ken Jorgustin

image: ‘Lights Out’ by Ted Koppel

Lets say it’s Friday. You switched on the TV News while going about your morning routines around the house while getting ready for work. You’re in the kitchen finishing the last sip of coffee when you hear one of the alphabet channel ‘talking heads’ report something about a cyber-attack somewhere in the northeast where part of the power grid apparently went down.

Having recently read Ted Koppel’s book, Lights Out, the thoughts running through your head are those of surprise and almost disbelief, but somewhere inside your emotions there’s an assumption that they’ll get it figured out and the grid back up. They always do…

You head off to work…

You’ve been busy this morning, as usual. There’s so much work piled on you that the news from earlier this morning has been covered over by your responsibilities of the day. At least that is, until you take your coffee break at 10… when a coworker says to you, “Did you hear that there’s a blackout in the northeast part of the country?” “Yes I heard that this morning. They said it was a cyber-attack and parts of the grid there have lost power.” “No, no… it’s worse than that,” said the coworker “now they’re saying the whole northeast is down!”

Now your risk-radar is sending warning signals such that you’re assessing what to do next. This is serious. Is the situation going to get worse? Is this cyber-attack over? It doesn’t sound like it… Are they going to be able to fix it soon? How much damage could a cyber-attack really cause to the grid?

You begin to recall the research and findings from Ted Koppel’s book, and you’re thinking…if those EHV transformers were toasted, then we’re all toast… The lead-time on replacing just one of them is likely going to be a year, or longer. They must have a few spares around the country don’t they?

You say to yourself, “Well, I’m not in the northeast so I’m pretty sure that I’m okay right now” and proceed to go about your work.

Lunch time finally arrives and you’re anxious to hear more news about what’s going on, so you head out to your car, put the keys in the ignition, turn it to ‘accessory’ and switch on the AM radio. The major stations are wall-to-wall news coverage of the blackout and you are astonished when you hear that the grid failure has now spread beyond the northeast. They’re saying that the cyber-attack is ongoing and they’re having little success at stopping it.

There are reports indicating that the cyber-attacks, in part, have been focused on grid management systems which balance the loads all across the interconnected distribution grids. Apparently this has caused purposeful overloads to the extent that even so called circuit breakers are not entirely preventing equipment and transformers from melting down. There’s some talk about vulnerable ‘SCADA’ systems being attacked. They say that they’re used for remote monitoring and control and the attackers are wreaking havoc with them…

Your gut is telling you that ‘this is it’. You’ve read enough about it to know that if the damage is severe enough (and it sounds like it is) then this is SHTF for real. This is not a drill. This is probably going to spread, and to make matters worse you know that there is going to be a resulting major financial/economic collapse, and it’s probably happening right now…

Time to get home. Life as we know it is about to change in a very big way. You say to yourself, “The time to prepare is now over, I hope that I’m ready for what is about to come…”

So the scenario I’ve presented above is not fiction. Although it hasn’t happened yet, most experts know that it certainly could, and probably will one day. If you do your own due-diligence to read and research this, you too will become convinced that we’re ‘sitting ducks’.

So the question is, if it happens this morning, are you ready, and what would you do next?

While no-one will ever be ‘fully’ ready for ‘grid-down’ (the process of preparedness is never-ending when preparing for SHTF for real…) it is good practice to visualize yourself in the scenario above and examine what you might do if you were in his shoes, what you might do if the SHTF for real, and how to be better prepared for it.